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Barksdale AFB, Bossier City LA
1959 - 1960

Thumbnail: low-angle view of the  2RTS workplace   CLICK for a larger view

Looking north-eastish. Along the lower edge of the flight line at the top of the picture is a row of faint vertical features. Those are bomber tails. A row of four barracks buildings above a smokestack pointer near the middle of the photo corresponds to another similar row that would be out of the frame at upper left. Between the two rows was a chow hall and a grassy area used for football practice. At the grassy area's northeast corner was a snack bar. I was never very clear as to who was proprietor of the snack bar, but I spent a lot of money there on hot dogs with mustard and relish.

Across the road to the west of the invisible barracks was a baseball field. North of that, a gasoline station. West from there, a base gate opening on a major North (Bossier City)-South (New Orleans) highway that bounded the air base on that side. The north edge of the base was just a little south of Highway 80. At the far west end of Highway 80—now known as Interstate 8—is Midway Drive, Loma Portal, Mission Bay, all part of San Diego CA. All along Highway 80 in Bossier City were bars, honky tonks, motels, just the kind of thing you'd expect to find in a town where a large proportion of its residents is young single men far from home; young men with a gummint payday every fifteen days.

Out of the picture to the left was a grove of pecans. I understood at the time that pecans come to harvest state every other year, and my time at Barksdale was a fruitless one.

Inside the southeast corner of the squadron area was a 30- by 40-yard patch of grass the football team used for practice on a few occasions when it was thought opposing teams were spying on us in the barracks area. That certainly would have given them an advantage. We had about eight plays to memorize.

One of the squadron myths had to do with a senior non-com whose duty at times of alert (practice—or real—states of preparedness for warlike activities) was to secure the 2nd Reconnaisance Technical Squadron installation's perimiter. He reckoned he would have a better view of his sentries if he took a position on the roof. His personal armament during this exercise was a "grease gun" automatic weapon, a cheap and simple, but effective, machine gun.

Whether it was an excess of alcohol or a deficit in attention and judgement, he thought it would be OK, maybe even a good idea, to shoot at a rabbit in that field to the east of the building. Those grease guns would put out a pretty fair volume of projectiles, but were not known for accuracy much beyond a decent hop-step-and-jump. He dumped a clip with no consequences to the rabbit, but plenty for everyone else in the neighborhood. Way I heard it, after the racket here came the base defense forces and a raft of eye-whites. By the time they arrived, the sergeant was off the roof and had swapped his weapon for a cool, clean one. The mystery gunfire was never officially explained.

Standard early morning behavior for barracks-dwellers was a three-eighths or half-mile walk to the back gate (hidden by the building). I do not remember what time work started or ended. Sometimes I would drive to work. It's hard for me to think why. I can think why I called the vehicular end-of-work exodus "parking lot grand prix."

the fabled 2RTS football team
13 - 0 - 1
Lost 8 - 6
in the Championship game
    Thumbnail: the 2RTS football team after  practice  B
Click the photo for a larger view
Click the B for a 100K version you can see faces in
Not that it makes a lot of difference, but the jerseys were medium-dark blue
Numbers were yellow paint, not very well done

What you have here is the 2RTS football team from Fall, 1959. Started practice in August (90-degree heat, 95% humidity), last game played in late November (low-thirties at game time, who cared about humidity?).

Everyone did good (but not quite good enough). I think we lost in the playoffs to another local team, one win short of Base Championship and a trip to some other AFB for a regional series. My theory: we were good enough, but some usually-dependable end or other failed to catch an easy one (or two) in the clutch. He still has nightmares about it. Another possibility: quarterback Rick Joyner (civilian with a cast) got on the disabled list when his follow-through from a snappy practice pass broke his hand on a practice rusher's hard head (Brewer? # 28, at Rick's left). The QB stand-in was good (but not quite good enough).

Just when I was putting this Football section up, Joyce and Rick Joyner tracked me down and nailed me with an email. Just forty-two years later. They are doing good and well, living in Florida. (Bulletin, December, 2005: Joyce and Rick moved to Missouri, where they have begun settling-in to the Country Life, and where they have a bigger grandkid share.)

Rick knew the team's record, as set out above, and he had surnames on the back of his copy of the picture. His read from front row to back row. I suppose that won't influence the outcome.

I could name a few, and am indebted to Joyce and Rick for the remainder. Top row first, our left to right: #26, Your OBedient Servant, end; # ?9, Zirkle; #39, Bill Shirley, end: #99, Joe Bolds end; #42, McDougal, tackle; #?2, "Mac" MacKay , tackle.

Next row
: #44, Falkner; #14 Barone; #77, Rick; #24, Ray Quirk, running back; #10, Parsley, the stand-in QB; #35, Dukes; #45, Greathouse.

Front row:
Rick Joyner, quarterback; #28, Brewer; #50, Cook, center; Sgt."Turkey" Boyd; #2?, Raul "Ditty-Bop" Carter, running back; #25, Tom Fuhrer, running back; #66, Billy M. Davis, running back; #16, Forrest, end?

I'd apppreciate any corrrections or addditionns, parrticullarly of the nnames.
E-mail me at:
Write to: P.O. Box 710071 San Diego CA 92171-0071

Tell us your story

Here's a 2006-05-06 message from Kent Kuyper:


Just saw your page and I have a Question? Do you remember a Sargent William Kuyper "Bill" by any chance? He was stationed there at the 2nd Rec through the end of Dec 1959... then left for Japan... with his family.

Kent his son

2RTS picnic
shortly before June 6, 1960

Thumbnail" Glenn Briley's profile and an unnamed airman                          Thumbnail: some activity at the squadron picnic, with hotspots
Photos ©

Lennon Glenn Briley shows his vaunted lady-killer trombone profile. The fellow next to him? I don't remember his name, but it seems to me he may have been the third of the musketeers who were in the '53 Ford on that final post-separation rabbit-killer trip from Bossier to Phoenix.

Shortly before I split the blanket with the Air Force, 2RTS had a Squadron barbecue at a recreation area out on Bossier Base, the Nuclear Weapons repository. One of the highlights was a short walk to the site of a fire ant mound. Click the photo for a large view; click a group to see it big.
Since the above re: Briley was added, I have been in touch with him, and with our Barksdale roommate, James Brown (not that James Brown!). Glen was ta the time of our contact (February, 2004) living "temporarily" in Dallas-Ft. Worth area, contemplating a return to San Antonio where he explected to build another house, and where his children are. Always a high-energy person, he's had a busy life in education and pharmaceuticals, with the consistent undercurrent of creative musical involvement.

I passed Jim Brown's email to Glenn, but since he hadn't responded to two previous notes, I didn't expect it was likely still valid. Jim had also described a busy and satisfying life after USAF, and while I have apparently misplaced his communications, I seem to remember he had been in an Alabama city different but not far from the Tarrant City he called home.

Some weeks are better than others, and some weeks are memorable beyond belief: in the wake of Joyce Joyner's wonderful detective work, Bob Mahoney sent a note: The guy next to Lennon on your web page is Robert "Killer" Kowalski. The night before Rick (Joyner) got married the three of us were together. He was a good friend. More later. Bob Mahoney.

Thumbnail: more picnic activity                                    Thumbnail: still more picnic activity
Photos ©

I can supply but one name for any of the five persons in this picture. The man leaning on the trash can is Raul "Ditty-bop" Carter, of San Francisco CA. The girl on the tree is she whose early failure at water skiing was such a pleasure to me. The girl disappearing from the right side of the picture is she whose leg served as canvas for a Man Tan artist.

I can supply not even one name among the six persons in this picture. Wait. The forehead behind miss topless belongs to "Bill," a fellow with wry humor and reserved demeanor.

Joyce found Raul Carter, living in Northern California. He's retired from ". . . the social services and mental health fields" and considering adoption of a conure.

Direct link to several photos from near the end of
the Barksdale era, June 1960.

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